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Old Mission Peninsula School | Jane Boursaw Photo
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Allison O’Keefe, President of the Old Mission Peninsula Education Foundation | Jane Boursaw Photo

As we posted earlier today, a tentative purchase agreement has been reached between the Traverse City Area Public Schools (TCAPS) and the Old Mission Peninsula Education Foundation (OMPEF) to purchase the Old Mission Peninsula School (OMPS).

The tentative purchase agreement includes a sale price of $1.1 million, agreed upon building contents, and a transfer date of July 1, 2018.

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The agreement will now go to the full TCAPS Board of Education for discussion. The Board’s next meeting will be held on Monday, January 23, 2017, beginning at 6 p.m. at the Tompkins Boardman Administration Center, 412 Webster Street in Traverse City.

A community meeting will take place in March (details to come), and all Old Mission Peninsula residents are welcome to attend.

It all began back in October of 2015, when the Old Mission Peninsula community first learned that OMPS might be on the chopping block because of low enrollment. After many focus groups, public meetings, and input from the community, the OMPEF was formed to work with TCAPS to negotiate a deal to purchase the school buildings, assets and land, essentially returning it to the community.

On their Facebook page today, the OMP Education Foundation posted:

We have come to a tentative agreement with TCAPS on the purchase of the Old Mission Peninsula School building and contents. The agreement will be voted on at Monday’s school board meeting at 6 pm at the Boardman building.

It took the entire Old Mission Peninsula community to make this purchase happen. It all began in December of 2015 when over 100 community members packed the Peninsula Community Library to come up with solutions on how to save the school. From there the commitment of the community, generosity of many and passion of all helped bring this to fruition. The struggle was challenging at times because it was all uncharted territory. We appreciate TCAPS’ ability to be flexible in their thinking and work hard with us to form a solution that benefits both parties.

We applaud Christine Thomas-Hill, CFO, and Scott Hardy, BOE lead negotiator, for their diligence in the final months, bringing this negotiation to a positive conclusion and keeping the doors open for a possible relationship in the future. We are thrilled to be able to keep our history on Old Mission Peninsula, but more importantly, keeping education a focus and priority on Old Mission Peninsula.

We would love to see our community at the board meeting (Jan. 23) to celebrate the vote. Thank you all for everything this past year and moving forward into 2017. ? #lovewherewelive

We caught up with OMP Education Foundation President Allison O’Keefe, who expressed gratitude for the process and outlined next steps.

Did the negotiations come together as well as you hoped they would?

They did. we took some time in creating that Facebook post (see above) because we wanted to make sure that Christine Thomas-Hill and Scott Hardy got the recognition they deserve. Truly, once Christine was brought on board, and once Scott took over as the lead negotiator, he said, “I am going to make sure this happens.” And they did, and that’s what was needed. It was a true negotiation in the end. We were able to take some of the emotion out of it and make it work.

It sounds like they really wanted to make it work. 

Absolutely. I truly am thrilled, and Christine Thomas-Hill was awesome. She’s honest and professional, and she tells you exactly what she thinks.

What’s next?

We’re going to enjoy this moment for a little while, and then we’re planning a community meeting sometime in March (details to come), where we’ll talk about the options we have for a school on the Old Mission Peninsula. We’ll also be rolling out our fundraising plan.

How can people get involved? Are there things people can do right now?

People can donate to the foundation (click here to donate). We’re also working on an application that people will be able to fill out and get involved. We’d love for people to reach out if they have expertise they’d like to offer.

Visit the Old Mission Peninsula Education Foundation’s website here.  


TCAPS, OMP Education Foundation Reach Tentative Agreement to Purchase OMPS

A NOTE FROM JANE: I started Old Mission Gazette in 2015 because I felt a calling to provide the Old Mission Peninsula community with local news. After decades of writing for newspapers and magazines like the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Family Circle and Ladies' Home Journal, I really just wanted to write about my own community where I grew up on a cherry farm and raised my own family. So I started my own newspaper. Because the Gazette is mainly reader-supported, I hope you'll consider tossing a few bucks my way if I mention your event, your business, your organization or your news item, or if you simply love reading about what's happening on the OMP. Check out the donation page here. Thank you so much for your support. -jb

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